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No special treatment: fake video of Zuckerberg stays on Instagram

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Instagram will not take down an ultra-realistic “deepfake video” posted Tuesday of Facebook’s chief executive bragging about controlling billions of people’s “stolen” personal data.

“Imagine this for a second: one man with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures,” a computer-generated Mark Zuckerberg says in the video.

“I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data controls the future.”

The video was shared by British artist “Bill Posters” — a pseudonym — as part of the promotion for his project “Spectre”, which looks at the outsize influence of technology and social media.

“The key issue is to interrogate privacy and the surveillance of our data,” Posters told AFP, asking that his real name not be used to maintain artistic anonymity.

“We wanted to create an artistic intervention into the internet to shine a light on Mark Zuckerberg and explore how data is used in unexpected ways by opaque companies.”

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Posters also welcomed the fact that Instagram was “not going to censor us as artists”.

An Instagram spokesperson earlier said: “We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram.

“If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram’s recommendation surfaces.”

– #deepfake –

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“Spectre”, which is named after the secret villainous organization of the James Bond films, aims to discuss the power of digital influencers and information online, as well as what can or cannot be believed.

According to his website, Posters and fellow artist Daniel Howe teamed up with artificial intelligence start-ups to create “deepfake” videos of celebrities ranging from Kim Kardashian to US President Donald Trump saying ridiculous things.

Posters and Howe are not trying to trick internet users, as all the videos are labeled with the hashtag #deepfake. But their work shines a light on the proliferation of faked videos online, especially as AI technology advances.

The video of Zuckerberg manipulates an actual statement from the chief executive, and refers to Facebook’s recent controversies over both stolen user data and one such manipulated video.

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Facebook recently came under fire for refusing to block the sharing of a video of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that had been doctored to make her appear drunk or impaired.

Pelosi called on the social media giant to block the video, saying Facebook “knows that this is false”.

Facebook did not remove the video but is quoted in media reports as saying that the video had been tagged as false and sank in the network’s news feed ranking.

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FedEx sues US government over shipment restrictions

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American logistics giant FedEx sued the US government on Monday, saying Washington's restrictions on exports and imports due to growing trade disputes and sanctions created an "impossible burden" for delivery firms.

The announcement of the lawsuit comes as Beijing and Washington face off in a trade war that has seen both sides exchange steep tariffs on hundreds of billions in exports.

The US has also sought to bar Chinese telecom giant Huawei from the American market and limit its ability to purchase US technology.

A statement by the delivery firm said the restrictions placed "an unreasonable burden on FedEx to police the millions of shipments that transit our network every day" or face heavy fines.

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2020 Election

New report targets 15 House Democrats who ‘deserve’ progressive primary challengers

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As progressive candidates continue to announce their intentions to oust corporate Democrats, a new report names 15 House Democrats to unseat in primary challenges.

Published Monday by the left-leaning group RootsAction, the new report is entitled Bad Blues: Some of the House Democrats Who Deserve to Be 'Primaried.'

The list, the report notes, "is by no means exhaustive—only illustrative."

"There may well be a Democratic member of Congress near you not included here who serves corporate interests more than majority interests, or has simply grown tired or complacent in the never-ending struggles for social, racial, and economic justice as well as environmental sanity and peace," the report notes. "Perhaps you live in a district where voters are ready to be inspired by a progressive primary candidate because the Democrat in Congress is not up to the job."

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‘A true public health emergency’: 70+ medical groups sound alarm on climate crisis

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Groups lay out action agenda to advance climate solutions and strengthen resiliency

Scores of medical groups on Monday called the climate crisis "a health emergency" and laid out what they framed as a blueprint for the public and private sector to take swift action.

The agenda is signed by over 70 groups, including the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the National Association of Social Workers.

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